Sunday, February 22, 2015

what makes us happy?

By Dr. Pola Singh

Our priorities and perspective on life changes as we grow older. We see things in a different light, knowing that our days are numbered. We grow wiser and learn to appreciate the little things in life.

We want to be a better person so that when we leave this world, it is with contentment and we are at peace with our loved ones and those that matter. We want to be happy and lead a balanced life.

Earning more money becomes less of a priority. We now focus on maintaining our health and enjoying life to the fullest. Some like to devote more time to doing charity work or helping out at an NGO; others seek adventure and travel more frequently. Many spend more time being closer to God. How can we be happier? For starters, we can learn to be more forgiving and tolerant, less rigid in our ways and thoughts and actually be fun to be with.

My life experiences tell me that no matter how successful you have been in your career, if you had knowingly or unknowingly imposed your values on others just because you have tasted more salt, it is time to ponder on this sort of behavior. You should be willing to admit that you don’t know all and be open to acquiring new knowledge. In short, be more humble and open. What worked for many of us when we were young may not work so well when we are older. Conversely, much of what made us happy may not work for the younger generation. Times have changed and so should we. I have always been a no-nonsense, serious and meticulous person. I was hard and harsh on myself in trying to attain perfection in whatever I did. I was reliable and got things done, but what a price I had to pay in terms of my relationship with those who had to work with me, especially my subordinates. I now realize that they all went through hell. Even family members, relatives, colleagues and friends felt stressed when dealing with me as I was equally harsh on them. Yes, I had imposed my high standards on them at whatever costs.

But not anymore. I realized that everyone makes mistakes and have off days; in short, we are all not perfect. And we shouldn’t be quick to judge. Objectivity is vital in understanding and handling any situation. What matters is that as long as everyone is doing or giving their best, that’s fine with me.

I now try to inject positive vibes and make people feel comfortable and at ease when working with me. Seniors like me should not take life as seriously as before. We need to learn to smile and laugh more. I try to do good things to others, hoping it will make a difference in the other person’s life. We should make an effort to touch the lives of ordinary Malaysians. I’ve also learned to forgive and forget. We should learn to put the past behind. Savor the remaining years of our lives. Cherish the beautiful memories and recollections. We should meet up with former classmates and colleagues more often.

When finally the time comes, we can peacefully close our eyes, knowing that we have made peace and amends with all who matter to us. Grudges, ill feelings, animosity, hatred and bitterness should be replaced by love and positive thoughts and feelings.

In this context, I would regard strong family support and unity as pivotal. Families should come together not only in good, but also trying times. It is a fact that families which are united are happier and will care for one another through thick and thin.

Finally, be kind and gentle to others and to yourself. Savor every new day. It could be your last day on this earth.

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